Phidlestix

One of my author pals wrote a fabulous story for Halloween to share with the world. What a treat! I mean, what’s scarier than clowns, right? I love the quote at the beginning. (I’m a quote junkie and I don’t want cured, thank you very much.)

This evil in your eyes is this evil in disguise.
– Legacy of the Grave

Cool, huh? Yeah, and it just gets better. Read it for yourself and follow Ethan A. Cooper on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon!
Here’s another blog post on Ethan’s work.

Content Advisory: Silliness, Violence, Clown

Phidlestix


 

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Pale Barn Ghosts – “3×8”

Happy Halloween!

My short story, “Going Home” is set in small-town Pennsylvania, where I grew up. A place of twisty roads, old farmhouses, and Revolutionary War-era graveyards. I’m not exactly a horror story writer. (Well, I guess I am NOW…) But I do like a good twist and gobs of mystery. Honestly, “Going Home” was really fun to write!

The band, Pale Barn Ghosts, seemed an appropriate choice to showcase on my Soundtrack To The Book Friday before Halloween for many reasons.

#1. Spooky band name. They label their style as “Cemetery Folk” music. Oh yeah.

#2. The guys are from my hometown! They live in Gettysburg now, but the lead singer, Thomas (Tommy!) sat behind me in homeroom for four years. I still remember his cover of Nirvana at the high school talent show. It SO beat my rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” But, whatever.

#3. It’s a great song! I think it’s about death…(spoiler: it’s totally about death.)

Going Home” is included in the anthology, Hair Raising Tales of Horror (21 tales by 7 authors) and is available now! (Read my other contribution, “Anonymous,” too!)

Buy your copy of Hair Raising Tales at the Houston Zombie Walk for charity!

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Support Indie Music! Listen to more Pale Barn Ghosts!

 


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Book Review: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

“You seem okay now.”

She toyed with her gun, flicking the weapon’s safety on and off, her eyes still upward. “It’s easier around you. I don’t know why.”

Well, that was something. It made me think. “Maybe it has to do with your weakness.”

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Firefight is the second book in The Reckoners series. The plot picks up where Steelheart left off and starts running. The characters travel from Newcago (Chicago) all the way to Babilar (the former New York City in this dystopian future.) New Epics (bad guys) are introduced, such as Regalia and Obliteration.

Sanderson’s intentional overuse of similes and metaphors remains charming, albeit a stretch at times. The comic aspects of the novel are off-set by the serious theme of weakness and the conflict of Prof’s struggle. Romance blooms, but it’s late and lazy.

The action scenes drag on at times, but quirky new characters like Mizzy and Dawnslight provided sufficient dramatic rest from the all out action. The plot roamed around aimlessly for a while, but then returned to center for the conclusion.

David is an endearing goof and remained static throughout. The biggest character arc was found in Prof, while Megan had an intriguing arc too, though the explanation of her powers was odd and hard to digest. Weaknesses of the Epics were investigated and David’s philosophy about them leaves the reader unsatisfied enough to run out and buy the next installment in the series, Calamity.

Sanderson is fun and games, with comedy and heart thrown in for free. And potatoes.

 Check out Brandon Sanderson!


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You Can Never Go Home Again

Pop had two settings—gentle and high-heat. A beacon of patience until pushed too far, the former boxing champ inside my mild-mannered father could emerge without warning. I feared facing the fighter inside if I lost Pop’s dog.

  When first I arrived at my father’s doorstep two days ago, Pop didn’t ask any questions. Never loquacious, this time his silence echoed the emptiness in my soul. I had failed—at life, at love, at everything—and had decided to leave the city and return to my childhood home, where I had felt safest.

Eventually, words began to drop out of Pop’s mouth, such as, “Morning,” and “G’night.”

Going Home by D. Marie Prokop, Hair Raising Tales of Horror


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Its A Crazy Thing – LSU

“I’ve got some poor, unlucky, bummed-out, over-worked, sick and tired angel begging not to have to help me…” –It’s a Crazy Thing, Poplife, LSU (Michael Knott and band)

These lyrics are some of my favorites and definitely went through my mind as I was creating the story, “Angel of Mondays.” I thought it would be an interesting experiment to write about angels on the job. The story took it’s own turn, as stories often do. But I love that.

Thanks for the inspiration, Michael Knott! Keep rockin’! (Even when the audience is the crazy thing.)

“Angel of Mondays” is included in the Eclectically Cosmic Anthology, by Inklings Publishing. Get your copy of this collection of quirky, speculative, and otherworldly stories today!


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Why Me?

“Why me?”

“The defining event takes place on a Monday. You are Zaniel, angel of Mondays, correct?”

“Yes, Michael, I am. I suppose Monday’s are my thing. But, if you think about it, my name means nothing, you know, compared to the Name above all names. To be honest, I often wonder about Tuesdays.”

-“Angel of Mondays” from Eclectically Cosmic

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When I started this tale about a grumpy, yet faithful angel, I intended to turn it into a novel. But providence intervened. It lives now as a 1200 word flash fiction piece that I’m quite proud of. I’m honored to have it included in Inklings Publishing’s Eclectically Cosmic Anthology. It’s available now!

Behind the Story

The name Zaniel really DOES mean “Angel of Mondays.” My son was researching writing a story using lions as  the characters and when we discovered this name. I stole it immediately!


 

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The Singer Wore A Mask…

The Singer wore a mask. Turquoise feathers and midnight-blue fabric disguised her face. She unpacked an acoustic guitar and set up a microphone stand in a cleared-out section of the dark coffee shop.

The Writer strolled through the front door. He grinned like a hungry wolf as he sauntered up to the coffee bar.

 “The usual?” I asked.

“Why change now?”

“Why, indeed.”                                                                                                                     


-“Anonymous,” Hair Raising Tales of Horror

invitation-promo

The Singer will be reading my story, “Anonymous” and singing when required. Come one, come all! If you dare!


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The Scientist | Coldplay Acoustic Cover | Narvaez Music Covers | REALITYCHANGERS

Kids are awesome! Life is hard, and they bring such raw joy and renewed perspective. I know a lot of amazing kids. One of them is named Enzo. He was born with Cri-du-chat syndrome and he’s my hero. If you met Enzo, you’d understand. Not only is he a sweetheart, he’s got a contagious smile. I’m so proud of this dude. (And his awesome parents.)

In my short story, Monster-Shark, Enzo plays a cameo role. He inspires a group of kids to include children with special needs into their games.

enzo_and_me

If you’re in the Houston area, consider joining me for the Perceptions Series: Special Needs Book Release Party this Saturday! Or you can buy a copy here! Thanks!


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New Anthology Featuring Children With Special Needs Available Soon!

“Hey! Let’s play a new kind of tag!”

“What’s it called?” Ethan asked with earnest curiosity.

Brayden tried to pretend he hadn’t just made up the game in his head.

“Uh . . . it’s called . . . shark tag.”

“How do you play?” Chloe asked. The rest of the kids quieted so they could hear Brayden explain the game. When he saw all their eyes staring at him, his palms began to sweat. He took a deep breath.

“Well, everyone hides. One person is it. When you’re found, then you’re it.”

“That’s not new! Everyone’s played that game,” Ethan complained.

“No, this is different. When you’re found, you’re both it. You stay together and everyone you find becomes it, too. The it grows bigger and bigger,” Brayden answered.

-excerpt from “Monster-Shark” by D. Marie Prokop, The Perceptions Anthology: Special Needs by Inklings Publishing


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I’m so pleased to announce that the Perceptions Anthology: Special Needs is being released on October 8th! I honored that my story, Monster-Shark, is a part of this unique collection of short stories.

Each story includes characters with special needs, which is an under-represented group in children’s literature in general. I interviewed a special needs mom and used my own experience of growing up with a special needs sibling to create Monster-Shark, as well as asking elementary-aged kids some probing questions about how they could include everyone when they play together.

This story was a group effort, ironically, a lot like shark tag.


Here’s what Inklings Children’s Division has to say about the new anthology-

New Anthology Series Debuts:

The Perceptions Series will debut with volume one, Special Needs.  This new anthology series will feature topics of interest for children.  With stories and poems from a variety of wonderful children’s authors, the first book explores issues in living with disabilities.  As always in the children’s division, the book will include discussion questions and extension activities to enhance the reading.


This volume is a fabulous resource for educators and parents. Please check it out!


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